Do you know about AAC?
OK, so this is beyond my normal purview and way out of my line of expertise, but it is so important I thought everyone should really learn about it. There is lots of talk about sustainable business practices, particularly in regards to construction and manufacturing. I really have yet to see many cool, practical implementations that made me sit up and take notice, until one day last week when I caught a DiscoveryHD episode on The Home of the Future.
As a gadget guy who even tried to start a company in the space (InfoApps if you are wondering what company) I was really intrigued to learn more. Some of the cool gadgety things were a refrigerator that suggested recipes based on what you had inside of it and a stove that was also a refrigerator so you could leave your dinner in the fridge/oven and it automatically turns on at a pre-determined time to have dinner ready when you get home (running late, call the stove and slow down the cooking - thats cool!) But they also showed some incredible new building materials.
The most interested of which to me was Autocalve Aerated Concrete (AAC). As strong as regular concrete, but 1/5th the weight, it is also heat resistant, you can SAW it like wood and it actually floats! Read more about it from the Partnership in Accelerating Technology in Housing (PATH) Web site
There was a bunch of other cool stuff they were shoed, but after 15 minutes of searching the Discovery site, I can not locate the program. The reason for this post is in regards to thinking about the Recovery 2 efforts. Right now AAC is a bit more expensive in the U.S. (they have used it for decades in Europe) but it is cheaper to work with (pre-fab blocks can be 4x as big and still weigh less). I am hoping that some of the smart things they are doing are considered appropriately in the rebuilding efforts.
If I had a lot of cash I would build one of these AAC plants - in fact I would build a dozen all around the country and try to educate more people on the benefits - but I build web sites and software, not buildings, so my only hope is to get people to spread the word about such great innovations.